HP Envy 34 All-in-One Review: One Size Fits Some

One of the few big screen all-in-ones that offers the looks and functionality but disappoints in terms of speed – like many AIOs.
I have been writing and commenting on consumer technology since the turn of the century. I am also a photographer and a cat herder, often at the same time.
Apple has abandoned the high-end all-in-one market that once dominated the 27-inch iMac market, but no one is trying to fill the void. Even Microsoft has discontinued its 32-inch touchscreen Surface Studio 2. This trend is not surprising, as the price and size of 24-inch models tend to make them more attractive than larger models, and the speed is often far below the list of requirements. If you really want a 27-inch model, there are plenty of midrange offerings in the Dell Inspiron and HP Pavilion lineup. As the only premium big-screen option left (to my knowledge), the default HP Envy 34 AIO is the best option in this class.
But that doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice for a desktop computer. It’s a nice system, with a nice 34-inch display and some useful features like a magnetic webcam and Qi charging pad in the dock, but you’re paying for beauty, not performance.
Like many systems these days, our Envy 34 AIO test configuration (Intel Core i7-11700, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, and 16GB RAM) for around $2,300 came and went, although you can currently find it on Amazon. You can get it in a variety of CPU, GPU, memory, and storage combinations starting at around $1,750 for the i5-11400 and GTX 1650.
If you want more powerful graphics, you can set it up with an RTX 3060, but you might also consider simply buying a mid-range gaming laptop – some of these might give you better performance with similar components – and a decent monitor for your needs. money by using something less elegant but faster, like the Dell XPS 8950 Tower, which tucks it under the table if you don’t want to look at it.
In general, the system is well thought out. In addition to the connector host on the back of the monitor, the stand includes an SD card slot, USB-C, and two USB-A ports, which is reasonably accessible. There are two watts of stereo speakers, their relatively low power output is great, a slow Qi wireless charging pad at the base, and an above-average webcam that attaches magnetically to the top of the screen. Although the keyboard is not backlit, it does come bundled with a good wireless mouse and keyboard.
It’s also nice that you can expand memory and storage relatively easily through a panel on the back. On the other hand, it took the two of us about 20 minutes to find the power button because it’s hard to see and feel: it’s flat and in the lower right corner of the display bezel.
The webcam has no controls such as zoom or exposure compensation, keep in mind that “16MP binning” corresponds to just over 2MP/1080p (2304×1292 or about 3MP). Binning produces usable images in near-dark conditions. The HP Lighting app, which lets you adjust the display’s ring light for better exposure, is actually quite a useful app. Since the screen is very large (software designed for laptops), the virtual ring light can get bright enough to light up a dark room.
But the display is really the highlight of the package. It is based on a 34″ 5K2K panel similar to the LG 34WK95U. It performs very well in testing, above average for general purpose monitors and good enough for non color critical photo and video editing: ~550 nits peak brightness, ~350 nits typical at default settings, P3 97% color gamut. the average color error is less than 2 Delta E, the best contrast ratio is about 1200:1, and there are no obvious problems with uniformity.
If the monitor is raised, the connectors on the stand are easy to find. When it’s down, it’s a little tricky.
It comes with a display utility that can switch between the most popular color profiles and allows you to map specific profiles to applications to automatically switch on startup. But these are not true calibrations, they do not include specific brightness levels or remap the colors of the gamut within spatial boundaries. With a little fiddling, the white point varies with brightness – around 6700K at default settings, but noticeably rises (and gets colder) as power output increases, which isn’t surprising considering it goes over 500 nits – which is why I don’t think so . this is good for color critical work.
You can always do your own software calibration, which should be pretty close. (All measurements were taken using Portrait Display’s Calman 2021 software using Calibrite ColorChecker Display Plus, formerly X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus.)
But it does not support HDR. While not required, and the display specs aren’t really true, it’s one of those things you automatically dream about when you see a large, fixed display. If the Envy becomes your must-have accessory, you can connect it to another monitor via Thunderbolt or HDMI. Keep in mind that, like most all-in-ones, you cannot use the monitor as a monitor for another system (in other words, connect two systems to a monitor). Since a multifunctional device looks exactly like a display, people tend to believe that it can be exactly the same as a display, but this is a special function.
Its performance is good enough for many people, but not on par with the equivalent H-series mobile processor, and the RTX 3060 mobile GPU doesn’t perform as well as some laptop competitors, in part because the power feels too low. limited to 70W (partially up to 80W). However, what’s even more frustrating is that since it uses laptop architecture, the display is not connected to the GPU bus, which I suspect will cause some frustration when games are run in lower resolution windowed mode. The 3060 is a great GPU, but it’s not designed to run games at acceptable frame rates at 5K resolution.
That’s not to say you can’t, in fact, I had a great time playing Stray at native resolution. And there are always cloud games.
I like the HP Envy 34 AIO, it feels like a good home or traditional office system for those who need a big screen in a small space. However, in the “don’t have to buy it all” sense, a laptop with a monitor and dock is more flexible and cheaper, especially if you’re spending over $2,000 on a desktop that works like a laptop. .